Friday, May 3, 2013

Blessed Be These Hands, Blessed Be These Voices

 Happy Nurses Week!

© Barbara Kaufmann 2013


Blessed Be These Hands....

 Nurses' Week begins on May 6th and ends with  Florence Nightingale's birthday on May 12th.  It is a time to honor nurses and , for that matter, all caregivers who fulfill the role of nurse.

 I have been blessed to know many, many wonderful nurses in my lifetime.  Some taught me to use my hands, my heart and my head to minister to the sick.  Some worked along side me, encouraging, supporting, nurturing me through my career. Some became my closest friends, forming a special bond forged in the fire of our challenging profession.   Some cared for family members and brought healing to them and when healing was no longer possible, they comforted my loved ones.   Someday, I have no doubt,  nurses will care for me with kindness and compassion when I am in need of  their special healing touch.

   John O'Donoghue, an Irish poet, suggested in his book, To Bless the Space Between Us, that we don't need a minister or a priest to invoke a blessing.  We can and should bless one another. In honor of all the nurses who minister daily to the old, the young, the terminally ill and all  recovering bodies and souls, I offer this blessing.  It is part of the American Holistic Nurses Association's yearly celebration, to be held this year on May 12 at 12 noon and called  'The Nightingale Moment.'

                                               Nurses’ Hands

Blessed be these hands that have touched life.
Blessed be these hands that have felt pain.
Blessed be these hands that have embraced with compassion.
Blessed be these hands that have been clinched with anger or withdrawn in fear. 

Blessed be these hands that have drawn blood and administered medicine. 
Blessed be these hands that have cleaned beds and disposed of wastes.
Blessed be these hands that have anointed the sick and offered blessings. 

Blessed be these hands that grow stiff with age.
Blessed be these hands that have comforted the dying and held the dead. 

Blessed be these hands, we hold the future in these hands.
Blessed be our hands for they are the work of Your hands, O Holy One. 

The Nightingale Moment, May 12 Blessing of the Hands 
On May 12, 2000 at 12 noon after a moment of silence AHNA members Mary Gorka, RN, CHTP, Charlottesville, Virginia networker and Cindy Westley, RN, MSN, HNC, University of Virginia Medical Center, Community Services Coordinator, along with Joan Murray, Chaplain at UVA, and a former nurse at the Medical Center of the University of Virginia gave a local blessing of hands to nurses. That year, other Chaplains joined in to lead a wonderful effort in support of nursing. This tradition has been continued each year as way to celebrate the Nightingale Moment and honor the spirit of holistic nursing. Copies of the blessing were given to those who attended the ceremony to take back to their units to extend the blessings. The blessing is a responsive reading, leader says one line, the group the next. 
This Blessing of the Hands is from In Praise of Hands, Diann Neu, Waterwheel, Winter 1989. Adapted by Corlette Pierson, Pastoral Care Resident at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, IL. This Blessing of the Hands may be copied and used for Nightingale Moment activities, but is not intended to be sold. 

Thought For Today :  I am thankful for all the wonderful nurses with whom I have shared my life's journey and I pray for and remember them in a special way this week.

For Recuerda Mi Corazon 'Haiku My Heart'


  1. Divine 'haiga' ~ lovely photography and haiku ~ love the 'gentle voice' ~ so true ^_^ ~ Happy Weekend .

  2. We are going through a family crisis right now. I sit here reading posts to pass the take my mind off the problem for a minute or two. I would like to copy this blessing and post it today, as many hands are taking care of my son right now...Thanks, Balisha

    1. Bless the hands of those caring for your son today. May they touch him gently in his need, whatever it might be. Peace.

  3. Blessed be the hands - how beautiful in every way! My post, although much more simple, is also about hands today!

  4. I love the serenity of your haiku and photo.

  5. I don't think we have something like a 'nurse week' or 'nurse day' in the Netherland (and if there is, I didn't know about it...) and your post has me thinking about nurses and what they do... thank you for your words!

  6. Beautiful picture and gentle words! Lovely!!! Wishing you well! Cathy

  7. Beautiful tribute to nurses, Barbara.
    And the sweetest little haiku ♥♥

  8. Hi Barbara! Lovely hiaga and I am especially thankful for warm loving nurses right now. My father in law has been a month in hospitals and rehab. He is having a tough time, a very needy and confused person, and the nurses have made it all bearable, Blessings on them


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